Letters to the Editor

Letters: Trump bombs, CalPERS, Zinke, Aerojet, taxes, Roger Waters, health care

Image of a massive U.S. bombing of an Islamic State tunnel complex Thursday.
Image of a massive U.S. bombing of an Islamic State tunnel complex Thursday. U.S. Department of Defense

Scared of Trump

Re “U.S. mega-bomb blasts ISIS tunnels” (Page 1A, April 14): I was born when Eisenhower was president. Over the years, I’ve admired some presidents and been embarrassed by others. I’ve walked precincts for presidential candidates and marched in protest against others. I’ve supported and opposed presidents’ policies in equal measure.

But Donald Trump is the first president who actually frightens me. He’s capricious and ill-prepared, admitting he’s given the Pentagon a free hand and “total authorization.” The result? Dropping the biggest nonnuclear bomb ever used in combat, an airstrike on Syria, and a noticeable increase in civilian casualties. Thanks to Trump, the world is now a more dangerous place for us all.

Betsy Reifsnider, Sacramento

Mega-bomb’s cost

The 22,000-pound “mother of all bombs” costs $16 million. The one dropped in Afghanistan on Thursday killed 36 ISIS fighters. That’s $444,000 per kill. Hardly a great return on investment. I thought we had a smart businessman in the White House.

Robert Neuman, Davis

Diverter in chief

Re “On Trump’s Syria strategy, one voice is missing” (Insight, April 11): Trump’s strategy is clear: divert attention from his Russian connections. The Tomahawk cruise missile is a horrifyingly accurate machine. Yet of 59 missiles delivered to an airfield, not a single one hit a runway. Trump is happy. His polls went up with his Raytheon stock. Putin is happy; he got warned. The planes that took off two days later only bombed Syrian citizens hoping to avoid being murdered by a barbaric tyrant.

Bob Bruns, Carmichael

Divest, CalPERS

Re “CalPERS sees pension fund drawback on border wall, pipeline divestments” (Capitol & California, April 12): As a retired state employee, I don’t want my money invested in the transport of tar sands oil across any land or water. The production wastes precious clean water, and the risks of leak or explosion by pipeline, truck or train are too great.

A corporation in another country is producing this filth to be transported across our country to be sent on the ocean. It does not benefit us in any way. The risks of destructive pollution to land, rivers and oceans only multiply as it travels farther.

Economic sanctions is how our government brings other countries to heel. CalPERS, divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Julia Adkins, Napa

Drop the dinos

There is a cost for buying in and getting out of an investment. As a taxpayer and a CalPERS retiree, I say incur it to divest from everything related to dirty fossil fuel and to get into something that will carry forward profitably for 100 years, not a dinosaur on life support.

Cheryl Keith, Rancho Cordova

Tribal issues

Investment in the DAPL trashes tribal sovereignty. That’s not just a matter of values. It’s also a matter of restitution for the actions of federal and state agencies that have abrogated Native American treaty rights again and again.

Quentin Hancock, Santa Cruz

Farmers are green

Re “A chance for Ryan Zinke to do right by California” (Editorial, April 12): The Bee says the environment should not be sacrificed to irrigate crops. Farmers couldn’t agree more. We take our commitment to the environment and water use very seriously.

While total agricultural water use in California has remained relatively constant over the last 50 years, the amount of food we produce with that water has increased over 43 percent. That’s a pretty efficient use of resources.

We all need to share our available water. Rather than pointing fingers, we should work together to make smart choices that benefit all, including farmers, consumers and the environment.

Mike Wade, California Farmwater Coalition

Bee went rogue

The Bee editorial board was this close. Following an otherwise sensible appeal to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to help close the $2 billion maintenance deficit at California’s national parks, The Bee went rogue and asked Zinke to consider wasting $10 billion to drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

Hetch Hetchy provides reliable freshwater to 2.7 million Californians in the most water-efficient part of the state, the San Francisco-Silicon Valley Bay Area. It’s long past time The Bee stopped gazing at this windmill.

Adrian Covert, San Francisco

Taxes and Aerojet

Re “A factory closes, and California seems to shrug” (Editorial, April 13): Of course businesses are choosing to leave when they are continually squeezed by regulation and taxation. You may counter with Silicon Valley, but Tesla’s latest major expansion went elsewhere.

Every year more and more laws and propositions are passed on the rich to fund programs. That group gets smaller and smaller yet their burden increases. Legislation has consequences.

Louis T. Ellis, Citrus Heights

Hurt by gas tax

Let’s look at who this new gas tax affects the most: people who don’t make enough to live where they work. So they live farther and farther away and have to drive longer on the worst roads in the country.

Californians already paid one of the highest gas taxes in the country. This hike cemented that in for the foreseeable future. The Democrats got something done, all right, by screwing the middle class and the poor.

Jack Sontag, Manteca

Gas tax audit

Is it time for an audit of California’s gas tax funds? I, for one, would love to know where they go because it is apparent they are not used to repair or replace the roads. We’ve just been told we aren’t allowed to see the previous reports on the Oroville Dam, and now we’re supposed to blindly pay more in gas taxes and DMV fees to probably do Brown’s pet train project under the guise of road maintenance.

Sherry Harrison, Yuba City

Shut-off valve

We have experienced prices rising to almost $4 per gallon and even higher in some parts of California. If such a drastic increase should occur again, those in the lower-income brackets will face financial hardships. The new tax law should contain a clause that lets the 12-cent tax to be temporarily lowered or suspended when the price of gas reaches a certain point.

Doris Concklin, Carmichael

Pick your battles

Re “Should a performer’s politics matter in arena bookings?” (Insight, April 13): I know Alan Edelstein, although I haven’t seen him in quite some time. If I could say one thing to him now, it would be to choose your battles carefully. Even if Edelstein prevailed and the Roger Waters concert in Sacramento was canceled, thousands of music fans would be upset and angry with him. You can’t win them all. And even if you could, you wouldn’t want to win this one.

Jack Schwab, Fair Oaks

False arena debate

Alan Edelstein employs an overworked tactic: Smear anyone with a label of anti-Semitism but never address whether the person’s views are true. The late Joseph Sobran put it well: Anti-Semites used to be people who dislike Jews, now they’re people whom Jews dislike.

Judith Schuchmann, Citrus Heights

Don’t tolerate hate

The debate over Roger Waters has nothing to do with censorship. It’s a question of whether a performer who uses hate imagery reflects our Sacramento values of inclusion and diversity. We would not tolerate an artist with a similar approach against other ethnic groups. Why would we when the target is Jews?

Janis Lightman, Carmichael

Prostate testing

Re “Prostate cancer tests are now OK with panel” (Nation & World, April 12): Men have the same rate of developing prostate cancer as women have of developing breast cancer. Men also have a similar death rate from prostate cancer as women have from breast cancer.

Prostate cancer kills an American man every 20 minutes, 24/7. The five-year survival rate approaches 100 percent if the disease is treated early but drops to 29 percent when it spreads to other parts of the body.

The PSA test is a simple, inexpensive blood test that can be conducted in a doctor’s office. It’s important that the discussion about PSA testing include all of the facts.

William Doss, Rocklin

Alzheimer’s funds

Re “New state Alzheimer’s guidelines aim to aid diagnosis” (Insight, April 8): Alzheimer’s afflicts more than 5 million Americans. That could triple by 2050, and we could be spending as much as $1.1 trillion a year caring for those with Alzheimer’s, to say nothing of the human toll.

Congress must listen to the scientists at the National Institutes of Health and increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by $414 million in fiscal year 2018. This is a truly bipartisan issue that should be a no-brainer for Congress.

Ann Fitzgerald Cony, Sacramento

Wrong civil war

Re “On Trump’s Syria strategy, one voice is missing” (Insight, April 11): Assad is not attacking his own citizens but the Sunni opposition to his own Alawi rule in Syria. His gas attacks continue policies of barrel bombs over Aleppo to drive out the Sunni population from Syria. Recent analyses miss the reality that he is an Alawi sect ruler over the mainly Sunni population. If the Alawi lose this civil war, they will be massacred. It is no accident that the center of Russian presence is near their sect’s center on the coast. Syria is a more dangerous civil war than is usually presented for us to involve ourselves in.

Henry Chambers, Sacramento

Not a real man

Re “On Trump’s Syria strategy, one voice is missing” (Insight, April 11): People who should know better say Trump has “become a real president” by ordering his missile strike on a Syrian airbase. That’s like saying that a 13-year-old boy “has become a real man” by impregnating his 12-year-old girlfriend.

Gregory Wahlstrom, Sacramento

Pretense for war

Re “On Trump’s Syria strategy, one voice is missing” (Insight, April 11): It has been shocking to see the images of the people killed in the gas attack in Syria. Eighty-seven men, women and children were slaughtered like animals. If the Syrian dictator is found to have been responsible for this reprehensible act, the world community must immediately begin the proceedings to have him detained and prosecuted for his crime. Any leader of any country who commits a war crime should be punished.

In 2003 George Bush, as a justification for starting the war in Iraq, said that Saddam Hussein was amassing weapons of mass destruction and began the war. As a result, 134,000 men, women and children were killed. We have since learned that there were never any weapons of that type, that it was all a fabrication.

Under the Geneva Conventions, starting a war under false pretenses is a crime. That was the charge under which Nazi war criminals were prosecuted.

Is George Bush ever going to be prosecuted?

Carlos de la Fuente, Newcastle

Misplaced priorities

It costs millions to send President Trump, his 747 and Secret Service detail to his resort in Florida each weekend. At the same time there are millions of homeless people in the U.S. who don’t have a place to sleep or enough to eat. Many of those are children and veterans. What kind of a society do we live in that allows that to happen?

John West, Sacramento

Trump and Medicare

Re “Trump prioritizes health care first, then a tax package” (Nation & World, April 13): Trump promised less expensive and broader health care than that provided by the Affordable Care Act. He could do that by expanding and improving Medicare. HR 676 would cost less than for-profit insurance and would control price increases far better. Consolidation would save money, focus regulation and remove pressure to constantly increase profit. Everyone would be covered, people would have more disposable income to spend, the workforce would be more productive and healthy and medical bankruptcies and uncertainty would be eliminated. And Medicare already exists.

Patrick Fogarty, Truckee

CalPERS, get clean

Re “CalPERS sees pension fund drawback on border wall, pipeline divestments” (Capitol & California, April 12): California is building an economy based on clean energy. Its investments need to be equally clean.

Carolyn Trovao, Fresno

Criticism isn’t anti-Semitism

Re “Should a performer’s politics matter in arena bookings?” (Insight, April 13): Thank goodness Foon Rhee and Mayor Steinberg defend the First Amendment and Roger Waters’ right to perform at Golden 1 Center. Rights have come under attack as some try to carve out an exception to free speech when it comes to Israel and Palestine.

We shouldn’t conflate the musician’s call for Israel to end its “occupation” of the Palestinian territories with anti-Semitism. The harsh military rule and colonization of territories taken in 1967 must end for there to be any chance of Israeli-Palestinian peace and reconciliation. That is a broad international consensus, including among most U.S. Jews.

David L Mandel, Sacramento

Truth to power

Re “Should a performer’s politics matter in arena bookings?” (Insight, April 13): I had the great privilege of hearing Nelson Mandela speak before tens of thousands at the Oakland Coliseum shortly after his release from prison. I suppose Mandela would not been offered that opportunity to address us in our local stadium if Alan Edelstein had his way. Like Roger Waters, Mandela was also sharply critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. I am thankful for performers like Waters who speak truth to power despite the economic consequences.

Jesse Drew, Davis

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